Scope: Dietary flavonoids and allied phenolic compounds are thought to be beneficial in the control of diabetes and its complications, because of their ability to inhibit oxidative stress, protein glycation and to act as neuroprotectants. Following ingestion by humans, polyphenolic compounds entering the large intestine undergo extensive metabolism by interaction with colonic microbiota and it is metabolites and catabolites of the parent compounds that enter the circulatory system. The aim of this study was to investigate the inhibitory activity of some colonic microbiota-derived polyphenol catabolites against advanced glycation endproducts formation in vitro and to determine their ability, at physiological concentrations, to counteract mild oxidative stress of cultured human neuron cells. Methods and results: This study demonstrated that ellagitannin-derived catabolites (urolithins and pyrogallol) are the most effective antiglycative agents, whereas chlorogenic acid-derived catabolites (dihydrocaffeic acid, dihydroferulic acid and feruloylglycine) were most effective in combination in protecting neuronal cells in a conservative in vitro experimental model. Conclusion: Some polyphenolic catabolites, generated in vivo in the colon, were able in vitro to counteract two key features of diabetic complications, i.e. protein glycation and neurodegeneration. These observations could lead to a better control of these events, which are usually correlated with hyperglycemia.
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